Jonathan Wilson brings raw emotion to Brighton Music Hall

Jonathan Wilson
featuring Michael Nau

February 22, 2019 at Brighton Music Hall

Though both of the night’s performances were not what one may have expected, the night was a wholesome, acoustics-filled joy to watch.

The red ambiance set by the stage lights at Brighton Music Hall made it clear that it would be an intimate night. Sure enough, Jonathan Wilson’s acoustic strumming would soon fill the room, evoking a lay in the grass on a lazy Sunday with someone you love.  

Opening for Wilson was Michael Nau, whose soulful vocals were only accompanied by a guitar. Though he is a lesser known artist, Nau captured the audience from the second he put his fingers on the strings. With melodies resembling those of Vance Joy or the Lumineers, his echoing voice sent chills down the crowd’s spines, taking us back to a time when love, fear and raw emotion was all that mattered. Though his performance only lasted for half-an-hour, his music seemed to blend into one, blocking out the concept of time.

Wearing a loose violet long-sleeve, Jonathan Wilson gave off a casual vibe, keeping his outfit as minimal as his music.  Wilson opened with a slowed down version of a fan favorite, “Loving You,” laying down the brick path that the audience would go down as the night wore on. Sitting on a stool holding his guitar, tuning the instrument between each song, Wilson would openly converse with the audience, discussing a wide range of things, including the difficulty of traveling to Boston and his newfound appreciation of the influence his North Carolina upbringing has had on his music and lifestyle. Any person in that room, whether they had listened to him every day, or just walked into the venue randomly, felt like they had found a friend in Wilson. He even shared that this tour was his first one as a solo artist, and because of that, he wanted it to be about his music and the experience he wanted for his audience.

His performance of “Living With Myself” received great applause, putting the crowd in a trance. With his soulful vocals, Wilson transcends language; even if you didn’t understand his lyrics, you’d understand him and the purpose of his beautifully haunting form of communication.

Once he switched over to a keyboard, “Sunset Blvd” and “49 Hairflips” strung at audience members’ heartstrings as the slow, reminiscent melodies caught hold of our emotions.

Switching back to guitar, Wilson announced he’d play a new, unreleased song. The piece stood out from every other tune of the night; the bridge featured a swift key and beat change, garnering the largest applause of the night. Closing with “Ballad of Pines,” Wilson managed to go full circle with the laid back vibe the show began with.

Though both of the night’s performances were not what one may have expected, the night was a wholesome, acoustics-filled joy to watch.

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